Thursday, May 24, 2007


here's an article written a year ago by Judith, an expat from New Zealand living in Kuwait:

According to Wikipedia a prison sentence is meted out depending on the philosophical principle used by the court. The most common philosophies of sentencing are:
· Retribution something done or given to somebody as punishment or vengeance for something he or she has done
· Deterrence discouraging somebody from taking action or prevent something happening, especially by making people feel afraid or anxious
· Denunciation a public accusation or condemnation of something or somebody
· Incapacitation to deprive somebody or something of power, force, or effectiveness
· Rehabilitation social welfare training, therapy, or other help given to somebody, for example, somebody who has survived a serious injury or illness or an addiction, that will enable him or her to live a healthy and productive life
· Reparation compensation for a wrong, restoring of something to a good condition
I would like to ask which of these principles is in action here when an unmarried mother and her baby are sentenced to two years in prison before being repatriated. If the baby is already a year old and the mother is now in prison as a means to leaving the country the child will be a toddler before they ever get to interact with the big wide world.
Does the ten months she spends waiting for her case to be tried get deducted from her sentence when it is given?
If the mother is already married in her home country, or she is suspected of having willingly participated in numerous affairs, further strife is brought in to the life of all concerned when the standard sentence is 10 years. This means that any children at home will not see their mother for 10 years.
If, as many self righteous people would protest, the purpose of the sentence is one of deterrence then this needs to be published loud and wide. – Rather like the commonly known death penalty for drug trafficking to Singapore for which the authorities even go so far as to warn passengers as they come in to land. Here in Kuwait, in all literature pertaining to foreign workers coming to this country there should be the black and white warning that it is illegal to have a baby out of wedlock and that the result will be a prison sentence for mother and baby, in which they will be denied all contact with the outside world except through a lawyer and that visits by other concerned parties will be denied.
What happens to the men who are able to father a baby and then be off and away without any consequences? The Social Workers with whom I have spoken are concerned only that the father of the baby is named and then married to the mother of the baby. If this is seen by the mother as undesirable, knowing the possibility of domestic violence makes for anything but a "happy family", it seems that the mother has no choice but the prison sentence. If she is able to name the father but he has already skipped the country she is still a criminal and has to serve her sentence.

These are my observations, and I may have been misinformed. However, if anyone is able to enlighten me to the value of the "rehabilitation, deterrence, denunciation, incapacitation, or reparation" of a woman and baby serving a sentence in prison then I would be interested to know about it.


On my last trip to the women's prison here in Kuwait, I saw a lot of prisoners locked up with their babies, they were from many nationalities, some were Indian, some Sri Lankan, Philipinas and 10 Kuwaitis, their crime? having babies out of wedlock. Their ages ranged from five months to 4 years old. When lights were out at 9pm some kids would start crying because they still wanted to play or were afraid of the dark, they usually get beaten by the prison guards along with their moms for this behaviour. It costs the state 10kd/day for each prisoner (food and sleep accomodations), the states also provides diapers and formula milk which costs even more.

We met with officials from the ministry of interior, ministry of social affairs, ministry of health and the human rights commitee in the parliament about this, they were all very sympathetic but that was as far as it went, they all had no interest in taking up this matter.

Our concern also was that these poor children that knew nothing outside of the prison walls were also living with murderers and drug dealers side by side, not even seperated in a different ward.

Anyway, Luckily we were able to mention this problem to the Amir of Kuwait Shaikh Sabah, now 33 ladies will be going back to their countries with their babies and the Interior Ministry is looking to change the punishment from imprisonment to deportation. Kuwaiti women's children with go to the orphanage untill they finish their sentence then they'll go back to their mothers.

I would love to know your views about this, care to share?


Kitty said...


Anonymous said...

أهلاً و سهلاً
بعد طول انتظار

Anonymous said...

العمل الأجتماعي يحتاج الي قلب كبير ومجهود لتوصيل المشاكل للمسؤلين تصديقين كثير من المشاكل يمكن حلها اذا فكر المسؤلين ووضعوا انفسهم مكان اصحاب المشاكل الأنسانية لكن الأغلبية تقول مو شغلي و يتوقعون ان المشكلة راح تنحل لوحدها.

الله يبارك في اللى يسعي لحل مشاكل العباد و الله يوفقك

Baroque said...

won't seperating them from their mothers make it worse?

how about some kind of playroom like the ones in the hospital for the kids?

sws said...

Seperating them in other circumstances shouldn't ever happen but when a woman makes a mistake she has to deal with the consequence. Allowing children in with their moms means (in my opinion):

1. exposing children to an environment of criminals and jail cells leaves a bad effect on a child

2. Who says what ages should be allowed in? what if the mother had a child out of wedlock and commit a murder as well? or stole? or was a drug pusher? that means she will stay in the cell for quite some time, is that fair on the child?

Anyway, some woman already have the choice to keep their babies away from prison, they leave them in Al-Sabah (Al-Welada) hospital, I understood that "Mustafa Boodai" made a donation to have a special ward for babies with mother sent to jail can be taken in. I haven't seen them myself but it's suppose to be filled with children with mom's in prison.

Ana Filibini said...

Why can't they just be deported? Like avail the amnesty that's going on now? It's beneficial for both parties. Mom and children get to leave the country after some punishment, the government doesn't have to pay for their meals anymore which is good for prison budget. I wish it's or they make it as simple as that.

sws said...

The will be leaving, the latest I've heard is the ones who have criminal offenses such as theft, murder,drug dealing and so on ... will stay. All the other will only convicted of having an illegal children without other convitions will be deported.

Mercy said...

Wow, insane situation. IMO, keeping the children in a prison environment is bad for them, except in cases where the mother is breastfeeding.

Deporting them almost seems logical, or having their embassies be responsible for locating relatives back home to take the children. Thanks for posting this.